Press Release
April 16, 2019

Statement of Senator Joel Villanueva on the vetoed special provision in the 2019 national budget on the issuance of special work permits

We are disappointed that the special provision returning to the labor department the sole authority to issue work permits has been vetoed. We agree that solving the problem of the influx of illegal foreign workers is a shared responsibility among relevant national government agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI). However, the lack of monitoring and the irresponsible issuance of work permits the past months by the Bureau only indicates incompetence and worse, corruption. The role of the DOLE is to vet the entry of foreign workers, while the Bureau of Immigration is in charge of issuing visas to foreign workers only after the DOLE has made a determination that no Filipino is capable, able and willing to do the job for which the services of the foreigner is being sought.

The committee hearings we've conducted on the issue the past two years, however, paints a disturbing picture. Our public inquiries showed the Bureau's corrupt practices of issuing expedited work permits through under-the-table payments. Clearly, the influx of illegal foreign workers in sectors that should exclusively for Filipinos shows the Bureau's incompetence and complete disregard to the welfare of Filipino workers.

While the veto is a temporary setback on our efforts to put an end to the influx of illegal foreign workers here, our resolve to reform the process remains unshaken. We shall continue to push for an overhaul in the system by filing appropriate bills, such as amendments to the BI's charter.

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